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Betty Ford has died at age 93.

She was a candid woman who spoke her mind. As First Lady, she was disagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a radical mastectomy. Her bravery pushed the disease into public consciousness and sent millions of women to the doctor for mamograms.

Later, when she became dependent on prescription drugs and alcohol, she admitted it publicly, underwent rehabilitation and went on to found the Betty Ford Center in California — a high-profile substance-abuse treatment facility that eased the traditional shame from substance dependency.

Her husband, former President Gerald Ford — the only U.S. president not to be elected to the White House — died in December 2006. He was appointed vice president by Congress after Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned amid a corruption scandal from his days as Maryland governor. When President Richard Nixon resigned rather than face impeachment over the Watergate scandal, Ford stepped up as America’s 38th president.

Only weeks later,  Betty was diagnosed with beast cancer and won acclaim for her openness and courage.

“I decided that if the White House was our fate,” she once said of her husband’s presidency, “I might as well have a good time doing it.”

Her death was confirmed by Elaine Didier, the director of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

“Perhaps it was unusual for a first lady to be as outspoken about issues as I was, but that was my temperament,” she said in 1994. “I don’t like to be dishonest, so when people asked me, I said what I thought.”

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